In a must-win game for Lazio, the Biancocelesti came back from 0-1 down to defeat Fiorentina 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in Matchday 28 of the 2019/20 Serie A. The tactical analysis for this match looks at Lazio controlling the tempo, Lazio’s long balls, Manuel Lazzari’s key role, and a look forward to Lazio’s next fixture against Torino.
Lazio Controlling the Tempo
Simone Inzaghi said after the match that he wanted Lazio to slow the tempo for the first 30 minutes of the game. This was to ensure that the team had the legs to finish the game.
Lazio reset into the shape below often in the game. The three at the back looking to play out on the right with Manuel Lazzari stretching the Fiorentina midfield. Also, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic pushing slightly further forward than the other two in the midfield. Luis Alberto finds room on the left as the Viola’s midfield pushes over to the right.
Francesco Acerbi is allowed to move the ball forward with Patric and Bastos (off-screen) pushing with him. Notice how compact Lazio’s front men are. This causes Fiorentina to move most of their players to the right side. Leaving Marco Parolo acting as a floater between defence and attack and Luis Alberto again finding room on the left side. Milinkovic points towards the open Luis Alberto on the left to try and launch an attack.
Lazio opts to play out to the open Luis Alberto. He then plays the ball into Caicedo, who flicks it to Immobile. Immobile then has two options, a ball to Milinkovic-Savic who will then play it wide to Lazzari. Or, he could turn and play Jony in behind. Immobile plays to Milinkovic-Savic who then plays it into space. Unfortunately, this passage of play is a bit slow and Milinkovic-Savic’s ball rolls out for a goal kick. Perhaps a sharper Lazio would’ve scored from this opportunity.
Lazio’s Long Balls
During this campaign Lazio have often used Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as a target man, utilizing Luis Alberto’s passing prowess to find him time after time. This tactic was used against Fiorentina to bypass their packed midfield.
Here Luis Alberto comes deep to collect the ball and move towards the left flank. He looks up, finding Milinkovic-Savic making a trademark run behind the defence. Note Manuel Lazzari also finding space on the right. This is due to Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo occupying the Viola’s three-man defence.
The pass is successful and Immobile and Caicedo both have acres of space to run into, as Milinkovic-Savic brings two defenders with him. Unfortunately, he is unable to bring the ball under full control and his eventual cross goes out for a goal kick.
Another long ball is attempted early on from Luis Alberto, who once again, comes short to pick up the ball. Much like Lazzari in the last instance, Jony has found space on the left (out of shot). Immobile and Caicedo forcing Fiorentina’s defence to push over to the right side.
This time the ball gets intercepted as Pol Lirola manages to recover in time.
Much like Luis Alberto’s pass to Milinkovic-Savic during the Juventus game. Jony sends a ball into Fiorentina’s box. Bypassing 7 of their players. Milinkovic-Savic makes a decoy run to the near post leaving room for Caicedo to run into.
Caicedo brings the ball down and draws a foul from Bartlomiej Dragowski winning a penalty for Lazio. Now, the penalty may have been soft, but the ball in from Jony caused real problems. With Lazio missing key players, we will likely see more of these long balls to try and breakdown opponents.
Manuel Lazzari (Il Treno)
Manuel Lazzari had a great game, with a 100% dribble success and two key passes, he was the one who created chances for Lazio. Lazzari often found space when Lazio’s compact attack forced Fiorentina defenders into the centre. Out-balls to Lazzari on the wing were often used to launch quick attacks when Lazio were having little joy in the centre.
As you can see from the heat-map below he found himself very high up, where he either cut inside or crossed the ball in. He will be key to Lazio switching the point of attack in upcoming games.
Simone Inzaghi levelled the all-time record for wins as a Lazio manager. Joining Sven-Göran Eriksson on 106 wins. Although he got sent off in the last minute of the game, he set the team up well to control the game and save the legs of the players. Injuries to Luiz Felipe, Stefan Radu, Lucas Leiva, Danilo Cataldi and Joaquin Correa meant Lazio’s starting XI was far from its best. We, therefore, can’t expect the same performances that we saw before the break. However, the fight and determination of this squad may well keep results going in our favour.
A Look Forward
Torino have played three games since the break. First drawing to Parma, then beating Udinese before losing their latest fixture 4-2 to Cagliari. They have set up in a 3-4-1-2, a similar formation to Fiorentina, in each of the games. Therefore, expect to see much of the same. A compact attack to narrow their formation leaving space for Lazzari and Jony on the wings. As well as utilizing long balls to bypass their packed midfield. Hopefully, the squad had a confidence boost from the victory and we start to see more of the fluent football we have become accustomed to this season.